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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 26, 2009 10:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 12-6-73 Dark Star

This post isn't by me - it was written by a fellow named Nick on another forum - but I liked enough to 'borrow' it wholesale & bring it over here:

12-6-73

I'm fully aware of the irony of writing a book-length post about a jam that some have dismissed as aimless, boring, naptime material. Nevertheless, I'm new to this forum and I see that this jam has taken some criticism. It moves me like few others, so I'm just gonna go for it....

To start, context is important when talking about this Dark Star. It ain't 11/11/73, and I don't really agree with the deadlists comment that the two are "fraternal twins." Let's locate where 12/6 stands. The final tour of the year found the boys back on the east coast sans Donna (much to the delight of many folks here). 11/30 is the stuff of legends, and rightfully so, and it's a beautiful display of the late 73 dreamy melodic style of improv: "sleepy" if you're looking for something akin to 71-72 at its rockin'est best, but I say adjust your levels. 2001 isn't exactly the zippiest film ever made, but then again, exploring the outer reaches may not be the time to put the pedal to the metal -- it's all kind of relative in outer space, isn't it? Fall 73 wasn't about burning off both your ears.

Something happened in Boston on 12/2, though. My theory is that a certain recruiter from the Venutian Red Cross landed at that mysterious 11/28/73 Garcia/Hart/Phil(?) show at the Palace of Fine Arts, made some connections, got some phone numbers, rocketed back to the mothership to pick up his toothbrush, and picked up the Dead tour a few shows later. Upon his return, he caused a major disruption to the psychoelectromagentic forcefield being emitted around the proto-Wall of Sound (somewhat similar to Phil discovery of the movie camera's feedback potential in the Winterland movie). You doubt this? The famous 12/2 Playin delves deep as all Playins of this vintage did, then delves deeper and deeper and deeper still. This wasn't unheard of, of course: Phil did some major dismantling of his bass and our synapses in the mightily wicked 10/25 Dark Star and certainly on other occasions as well, but on 12/2 they are nearing the source of a deep space vein that ran with them for the better part of the week. It's there again in the next show's Eyes>space (12/4), albeit in less extreme form, and later reappears in the 12/8 Other One, where it's already starting to mellow significantly. I need to listen more closely to 12/10 and 12/12, which I've never given much attention, but these shows don't seem to have jams of similar scope or intensity. The last two shows of the year, however, manage to recapture some of that energy, with a great apocalyptic space in the 12/18 Dark Star and one final laser beam blast of prime deep space mindscrambling in the wonderful meltdown that follows the Other One on 12/19.

So: the 12/6 Dark Star.

I'm using shnid=4452 from archive.org, if you want to follow along. The first version of this I got on cd about 8 years ago had the Dark Star cut into 3 tracks, which I actually kind of liked: the tuning, the "prelude", and the Dark Star itself. 4452 is just one 43 1/2 minute slab of music, which works just as well.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd73-12-06.sbd.kaplan-fink-hamilton.4452.sbeok.shnf

The track starts with Jerry noodling and Phil and Bob tuning up. Jerry's clearly in Dark Star mode from the word go, waiting for the rest of the band to get it together. At around 1:12, Keith stops helping Phil tune and starts drifting towards Jerry's zone.is in DS mode, but Phil and Bob are still tuning off Keith; Jer noodles away. At 1:12, Keith sounds like he's drifting that way too… It's important to note that from this point on, Keith is as active a participant in this music as Jerry or Phil is. Fact is, I can't think of another stretch of improv as long as this where Keith is so involved and playing his ass off -- there are plenty of wonderful moments in 71-73 where Keith steps up and counters any notions we have of him as the sleepy pianist, but here he does so for the most sustained amount of time. And the fact that he does so almost completely on his Rhodes is heaven for me -- I love love love the sound of this keyboard, and whenever I'm out digging in record store basements for old jazz lp's (another pasttime of mine), I'll usually grab anything from 1970-1976 if I see a Rhodes listed on the back cover. Digression. Back to the business at hand. The boys are getting ready to go.

At 1:45 there's a second's pause and something in the air changes. Listen, you can feel it. Keith continues, but it's clear now that they're done tuning up. Our VRC recruiter peaks his head over the stacks and gives them the thumbs up. Billy falls in with some cymbal splashes. Jerry's ready to go. At 2:10 Keith moves from his Steinway to his Rhodes, where he stays for the remainder of this Dark Star. Just then, Phil lets off some thunder to announce that he's ready to go -- they're revving up. Or maybe it's more like monks scuttling back and forth preparing for a ceremony.

Finally, at 3:22 Billy tosses out a nice, flowing beat and Keith and Jerry dive in. It's Dark Star, but there are none of the obvious signposts announcing that. Every Dark Star begins with some announcement, some statement of purpose ("free turf!" as Jerry calls before launching the one on 3/2/69). Not here. It's amazing to me that they performed this way in front of a large crowd (more on the crowd later). No one thing says "Dark Star!" but no one would mistake it for anything else -- loose, fluid, gentle, Billy dancing away back there, while the four guys upfront talk, nudge, and whisper to each other. I suppose one drawback to this one is that Bob takes his place in the backseat and doesn't say much, and this doesn't change much for the next 40 minutes. Equipment issues? A Bobby-unfriendly mix? Maybe taking a break to man the Venutian Red Cross table while our friendly recruiter climbs up into the PA to work a little magic?

Anyway, as I believe Tom Constanten once said,
"Dark Star is going on all the time. It’s going on right now. You don’t begin it so much as enter it. You don’t end it so much as leave it."

So here we go. They groove and float for a few minutes, like five skaters doing slow loops on a pond. By about 6 min in, Phil's starting to get a little more punchy, and the jam begins to focus itself into more of a direction, thickening up, pushing into a sliiiightly more aggressive and "purposeful" Dark Star theme jam. At 10 min or so, this particular approach seems to climax: Jerry moves forward, but the boys pull up short and drop the bottom out from under him for a second, and they turn towards a new direction. I love listening to these momenets when they reach the conclusion of a particular jam, regroup and and decide where to go next, and no one's in any hurry to figure it out. At 11 min, Jerry's got the wah turned on, but it seems like Billy wants to keep it grounded for now; Keith suggests the Dark Star "verse" theme at 11:40? Not yet, pal. Phil's having none of it, and seconds later he starts unleashing some huge feedback waves. Wooosh! He's not fully taking it there yet, but it sounds like he's letting everyone know: no usual Dark Star tonight; tonight we push for the outer regions.

The rest of the boys seem happy to oblige. Or powerless to resist.

And they're off! Or are they? At 13 min, they set off but then fall back into the regular Dark Star terrain and hesitate. Is this where we want to be? Should we go someplace else? Enough indecision: at 15 min, Billy whips up a whirlwind and Jerry and Keith take off, both really pushing and playing hard. They build to another little climax, sparring playfully and getting kinda pissy with each other. At around 16:35 Jerry eases back and plays one of his standard "regrouping" licks, the same repeated arpeggio picked slowly while he finesses his wah pedal. NOW the Dark Star theme? Phil's having none of it. The beast is crawling out of its cage now. Enough playtime.

Phil proceeds to usher in one of my very favorite deep space Dead jams. This is my "primal Dead" -- for some it's 68, for other it's 77, but for me this kind of stuff is the pot which holds the bubbling primal ooze. The mothership has landed, all pretense or facades of human bullshit have been melted away, and the third eye begins to crack itself open. Phil gets prehistoric -- he starts revving up wave after wave of feedback drone, not decimating everything in sight (unlike, say, 10/25/73, where Phil's evil wizard twin appears to pulverize our synapses), but pulsing and writhing like a living thing, like a giant whale rolling in the surf; Jer and Bob keep some semblance of sanity by clinging to those slow, arpeggiated figures they keep playing, while Keith goes for broke and rides the wave that Phil is churning up.

After a few minutes of this sheer perfection, Jerry eventually pokes his head above water and starts working purposefully towards the Dark Star verse theme. Phil subsides gently, and at 21:07 it all comes together and Jerry finally plays the Dark Star theme, much to the crowd's appreciation. Elated, they groove on this for a bit; vocals at 25:10.

Worth noting two things at this point:
1. The only Dark Stars I can think of that come close to the amount of pre-verse music that this one has are 9/27/72 and 9/10/74, but I think this one edges them out. For comparison's sake, 12/6/73 has almost 10 minutes more than 11/11/73.
2. At no point in any of this is Keith MIA in any way -- no vanishing for equipment problems, sneaking a cigarette, catching a nap, having a sandwich, whatever. He's plugged in and up front the entire time.

Okay:

After the verse, the bottom drops out as usual. Bob strums away quietly, Keith continues to play on, then Phil steps upfront as is his usual practice around about this time. At about 28:30ish he lets off a big feedback chord, which fades away to just Jerry alone scraping a single string. Again, note the crowd response to this. They're feeling it.

Now the real bullfight begins. Phil lets off some squeals, the crowd hollers a few words of encouragement, Billy makes himself known with some little percussion taps as Phil starts to disembowel his bass. The heavy shit starts now. Words won't do this any justice. Everyone (even Keith) sit this one out as Jerry and Phil get all King Kong vs. Godzilla and do some damage. Phil lays down some monster chords while Jerry swoops above like some kind of howling bird of prey, then Phil falls back to let Jerry come from and center to lay some waste, all the while laying down a droning bed of buzzing feedback. You like this stuff or you grit your teeth and wait it out, but music like this forces you to confront it and reckon with it. At this point, I literally cannot hit the skip button -- I'm in too deep to bail out now.

That little VRC recruiter is either rolling on the floor with glee or wondering just what the hell kind of jungle cat he let out of the bag.

Finally, at around 35 min, on the back of final huge Phil feedback bomb, Keith comes creeping back, followed quickly by Bob and Billy. Phil is still in convulsions, but Jerry picks up on the new company and pushes off in a jazzier direction with Keith, the two of them reeling off these fast runs that mirror-image each other. Billy kicks in a propulsive beat and Jer and Keith race off, neck and neck with each other, tilting unsteadily back towards atonality one second, then back in the direction of jazzy melody the next. A nice run back towards the Dark Star verse theme? Hard to say where they're going, but by 40 min, Jer eases off and lets Keith run with it. The energy subsides, but Keith keeps it going, and around 41:30 he plays a little 2 chord vamp that Jerry picks up on and plays with for a second. Though the air is starting to leave the balloon, their playing is still remarkably sharp and focused -- prime 73 Dead jazz jamming, ala many other great ones from the year (3/24, 7/27, 10/29, etc). In the waning moments, it really sounds like they're considering a return to the Dark Star theme -- Keith and Phil practically cue it right up (!), but Jerry's on his own path and turns straight into Eyes of the World. Never a bad call, but jeez, how perfect would it have been if Jerry eased back and let them put the cherry on top of this Dark Star? Ah well. "You don’t end it so much as leave it."

Eyes of the World. I could say more, but I've said way more than enough as it is.

The rest of this show is quite lovely as well. I hear the HCSunshine is a good one.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Dec 27, 2009 10:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

This is a great write-up. It was posted recently at the Lost Sailor's Pub.

I'd just like to add that this show includes what is probably the best (and longest) Here Comes Sunshine, preceded by this bit of stage banter:

Bob: We’re fortunate tonight to have with us tonight a recruiting station for the Venutian Red Cross. It’s the gentleman over here with the big red blinking eye. If you’d just like to wander on over there and sign up…

Jerry: The who?

Bob: The Venutian Red Cross.

Jerry: The _Venutian_ Red Cross. Is _that_ what that means.

I did a full review as part of my Ohio Project - http://lostsailorpub.forumup.it/viewtopic.php?t=1780&;mforum=lostsailorpub

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 27, 2009 1:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

That Sunshine merits an essay of its own! (Actually, it did get a writeup in that list of The Best Sunshines that was posted a while ago...)
http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=254358

Good work on your Ohio Project! A few years ago there was a poster here named acetboy who started doing reviews of all the Dead's Illinois shows.....but he only got through '69 before he quit the Forum and deleted all of his posts....

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2009-12-27 21:05:37

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Dec 27, 2009 3:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Thanks man. I remember your HCS post. Great stuff. 12/6/73 is one of the most perfect performances of one of their most perfect songs, imho.

I'm actually in Cleveland for the holidays. We drove downtown today (did the tour of the Christmas Story house --- hahaha) and passed by a couple of old GD venues, including Public Hall (and Music Hall) and the old Allen Theater.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 27, 2009 5:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

From 1970--73, I saw all the Ohio shows as I was a student in the center of the state. The Cleveland show in reference was my last Dead show until 1980. The entire show is exceptional. I well recall the D.S.--thought it would never end and hoped it wouldn't. Like so many other shows from the way past, it was a delight to encounter it online some years ago.

I think it was these 72-73 jams that gave me access to musical realms that I had not previously accessed. After 1973, almost all of my time was spent listening to post Coltrane jazz. I'd have never gotten any of that without these Dead excursions.

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Poster: manwolf Date: Dec 27, 2009 6:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

The Dead in 72-74 were perfecting the last cog in the engine of a great amalgam of styles of music that were being polished to a fine, astral sheen. In 72, with Mickey's hiatus, Billy was able to focus entirely on his approach, and it is well known that Elvin Jones of 'Trane's epic quartet was a revelation to Billy. Dark Star (I've read) was based on a number of factors, both musical and aesthetic. Ornette Coleman and post Love Supreme era Coltrane, were like 'designated musical saints', and although DS got it's start in 67, it took seeing Miles with the Bitches Brew crew in 70 and the introduction of material with open ended structures (Playin, Eyes) for the jazz to lock in to where it was more than an influence, but where they were actually joining the cannon as serious rock musicians who were breaching the norm. Dark Star from 12.6.73 is a perfect introduction into what 'jazz' has come to be. The new forms that will dictate what music will sound like as I understand stand it really is exemplified in that cherished version. By the way, this was my first dark star at sixteen and I have not stopped studying the music to the best of my ability. Couldnt have dont it without this song.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 27, 2009 7:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

And not to forget Keith.... Having to play after Miles in April '70 may have been humbling, but their material didn't change that much for the rest of that year, and in '71 you could argue they were even heading away from a jazzy direction into tighter, more succinct jams.
Keith was primarily a jazz player, and I see him as the catalyst here. Checking out what happened to Dark Star between, say, October '71 and April 72, there's a big jump - the type of jam is the same as before Keith joined, but they're tackling it at a higher, more expansive level.
That's not to say they wouldn't have gone in this direction without him - they'd been jazz fans in '65 too, and it was always dormant in them - sometimes one possibility in their music takes the lead, sometimes another.... In this case it was the combination of talent, lots of practice, a driving ambition to keep the music fresh & changing, and having a jazz piano-player drop in their laps.... (Garcia had been playing with Saunders & Howard Wales as well, which certainly broadened his jazzy-guitar skills.)

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 27, 2009 6:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Ah, one of the old-timers!
6-14-68? "I was there!" 2-13-70? "I was there!" 12-6-73? "I was there!"
I wonder if you & skydawg bumped into each other at the 4-3-70 Cincinnati show....

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 27, 2009 8:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

I don't understand why when the Dead's jazz leanings are mentioned it is always in relation to that lame fusion crap Miles Davis put out.They had far more in common with the real innovators in the world of avant garde jazz such as Roland Kirk,Art Ensemble of Chicago,Sun Ra,etcetera.Miles and his band of studio guys couldn't improvise on the level of a serious Dark Star on their best day.I don't think they heard Miles and "saw the light",that is insulting to their intelligence as musicians,inferring they needed direction from someone else's music to create theirs,never mind the fact that what they were doing was far superior to what what it is supposedly influenced by.I have listened to alot of avant garde jazz and all kinds of rock and have never heard another band with rock instrumentation play true free jazz like the Dead did from 72' to 74'.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 28, 2009 2:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The Dead & Jazz

Them's fightin' words!
Personally I like the Dead more than Davis, but Lesh in particular has spoken about how awed they were about playing after him at those Fillmore '70 shows, and how much he admired that kind of music. (At the time, it would've been new to him - Bitches Brew was only released in April '70!)
[See P.S. at bottom.]
I don't know if the band really took much from Davis' fusion style at the time (Keith apparently did, a couple years later), but you can tell at the 4/12 and 4/15 shows, the jamming is especially inspired. As Kreutzmann put it, they were "totally embarrassed" following Miles - "we played really free, loose, but I couldn't get Miles out of my ears."

In interviews, the band referenced Coltrane a lot more as someone who influenced them even from the start in '65. They were very enthusiastic about the 'modal jamming' style that Davis & Coltrane initiated (basically, improvising in one chord or scale, rather than through a song's chord progressions) - Viola Lee & Midnight Hour were the first tunes where they tried this out.
Lesh said, "It was the simplest thing to do, because you didn't have to remember any chords." Weir agreed: "The first thing we learned was to rattle on in one chord change for a while....that was good for me, because I didn't know many chords."
In his book Lesh talks about how, as they got better, they used Viola Lee to all solo simultaneously, like jazz musicians, rather than just backing Garcia. "We electrified the song with a boogaloo beat and an intro lick borrowed from Lee Dorsey's 'Get Out oof My Life Woman', and we tried to take the music out further - first expanding on the groove, then on the tonality, and then both, finally pulling out all the stops in a giant accelerando, culminating in a whirlwind of dissonance.... I urged the other band members to listen closely to the music of John Coltrane, especially his classic quartet, in which the band would take fairly simple structures ('My Favorite Things', for example) and extend them far beyond their original length with fantastical variations, frequently based on only one chord."
You could hardly find a clearer example of the Dead being directly influenced by jazz techniques!

(Here's one introductory article about examples of modal jams in rock music -
http://dog-goneblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/modal-exploration_30.html
And from the same blog, a post about another "jazz" musician that Garcia closely listened to -
http://dog-goneblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/gypsy-king.html )

I posted a little bit about the Dead's jazz influences in this piece:
http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=257577

Their influences were many & wide though, and the Dead created something totally distinct. Garcia was especially influenced by bluegrass & old-time stringbands, what he called "conversational music", the way the instruments related to each other. Lesh had the most avant-garde leanings in the group, and he was the happiest to go to the noisy side.... The band got into Indian music heavily after '67, which left a big imprint in their playing.
And so on....point is, you can rarely point to any single artist or piece of music and say, "That influenced the Dead's style!" For example, Garcia was a big Freddie King disciple when he was learning electric guitar, but by '69 there's hardly a trace - they keep transcending the things they learn from.
Also, as musicians, I think they listened differently than most of us - Garcia's quotes in my article, for instance, show that he was listening very specifically for what you might call the "voice" in the playing - one horn player's silences, or another's phrasing.
Here's Garcia talking about one tune that influenced the early Dead - the Junior Walker instrumental 'Cleo's Back': "There was something about the way the instruments entered into it in a kind of free-for-all way, and there were little holes and these neat details in it - we studied that motherfucker, we might even have played it for a while... It was the conversational approach, the way the band worked, that really influenced us."

P.S. - It's worth quoting Lesh on the shows with Miles Davis in April '70:
"As I listened, leaning over the amps with my jaw hanging agape, trying to comprehend the forces that Miles was unleashing onstage, I was thinking, 'What's the use? How can we possibly play after this? We should just go home and try to digest this unbelievable shit.' This was our first encounter with Miles' new direction. Bitches Brew had only just been released, but I know I hadn't yet heard any of it... In some ways, it was similar to what we were trying to do in our free jamming, but ever so much more dense with ideas, and seemingly controlled with an iron first, even at its most alarmingly intense moments. Of us all, only Jerry had the nerve to go back and meet Miles, with whom he struck up a warm conversation. Miles was surprised and delighted to know that we knew and loved his music."

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2009-12-28 10:34:24

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 28, 2009 6:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

I'd have to disagree in part as well. I don't see the Dead's music as having much in common with Sun Ra or the AEC--maybe more Ra in the sense that his band played straight ahead and outside. The Art Ensemble were blazing new trails predicated as much on composition as improvisation (have you read Geroge Lewis' amazing book on the AACM?). In their later years, the AEC became a bit more formulaic and played more "tunes" than free form, but in the early years, they went on with ideas and cut loose from there. Perhaps that is why their mid to late 70s material seems to be the best (imho).

The fusion that defined jazz in the early 70s informed the Dead's music in terms of their desire to bring "jazz" feel into their own center just as the Miles led fusion revolution was doing just the opposite. Miles' musical hero? Jimi Hendrix.

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Poster: gphishmon Date: Dec 27, 2009 10:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Wow, I didn't hear much of that when I listened to it. Maybe I'll have to try it again. I remember long stretches of near silence, or just one instrument playing feedback. I'm sorry, I just couldn't get into it, and Eyes came as a relief. This Dark Star is kind of like that painter who after a "revelation," produced nothing but the same black on black on black painting for the rest of his career. The viewer, or in this case, the audience, have to fill in the blanks.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 28, 2009 5:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Yes, GoPhish, I tend to agree with you about the diff's between 72-73 DSs, and the earlier ones...though so many with so much more real appreciation of music pick those two years, and of course, so many of the very knowledgable folks round here do too, I have never been able to see that any of them tops 9-19-70 for me.

I think that DS has a much more idiosyncratic aspect to it in terms of personal appeal than many of the other DEAD tunes that I have argued/discussed with folks here (in which I often maintain there are objective rationales for selecting this tune over that tune, etc.). 72-73 DSs are the only tunes for which a "vote" would find my fav's from the earlier era getting the shaft, I think it safe to say...

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 28, 2009 7:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

I would agree with Tell insofar as my personal preferences lie before 1972. But in terms of the exp[erience of "seeing" some of these 72 jams live in person--well, they sucked me in to their vortices every time and spit my ass out into the street with utter amazement. Maybe it was the mirror balls. Maybe it was just the voyage.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 28, 2009 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

In response to LIA and ghostofapig I didn't mean the sound or style of their music was reflective of the other free jazz artists I mentioned,but rather their sense of exploration and willingness to play new and different sounding types of music.I'm aware that they were impressed with Miles performance at the Fillmore,but I don't think it sonically informed their music.As far back as 68' they were playing Coltrane influenced music,Clementine seems to be infused with references to My Favorite Things,point being they were always a bit of a free jazz band and it didn't take a gig with Miles to push them in that direction.On that note I will be honest and say I really don't like Miles or his music,so any chance I get to rip him I do,therefore my opinions on him might be a little skewered.In closing Lia,picking a fight with you on musical matters concerning the Dead would be a foolish venture,I was responding more directly to other posts in this thread and past threads.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 28, 2009 4:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Clementine has also remindedme of My Favorite Things. During the "fusion" era, and leading up to it, Mile incorporated electric piano. Ditto the Dead as Keith matured in the band. I think hearning Miles opened their ears.

As to the AEC--hate to say it in this forum--but the finest quintet the world has seen. When I got off the bus around late '73, I migrated over to the NYC loft scene. It had all that newborn thrill that the Dead (et al) had for me in the sixties. Always new and exciting, fresh and intimate. I'd say that after the Dead, the band I saw the most was the AEC.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 28, 2009 7:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

In full agreement with you on the AEC,sad to say I didn't pick up on them until 81' or thereabouts,but like you I saw them and the individual members in various aggregations around NYC a few hundred times.The Roscoe Mitchell Sound Ensemble provided me with my most lasting live music moment and thats counting 200 Dead shows,100 JGB shows,and countless jazz shows.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 29, 2009 9:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Lots of downloads at dimeadozen.org.

Wish I'd maintained better contact with that scene after I moved to Atlanta in 1979. I knew a lot of the guys personally. I used to do photography for them and a lot of the other musicians.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 29, 2009 10:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

I'm still living in the 20th century technology wise,tapes and cd's.But one of these days soon enough I'll get on the download bandwagon.As you said I also got to know alot of the guy's personally,David Murray and Hamiett Bluiet,and Fred Hopkins in particular.Sadly the jazz scene in NYC started to die out in the late 90's and I lost track of it.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 29, 2009 10:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Fred was one of the nicest musicians in the bunch--may he rest in peace. David--I met him in 1976 when he'd just made the move to New York. He was somewhat of a prick from the start. Most of the time he was polite, but once he tasted money . . . . He had a standing pitcvh in 1978. He'd record for anyone for 10,000. But the thing was that he was that good--as a player and a composer. His contributions are enormous (though playing with the Dead--I always took that as a ruse to increase his audience).

Bluiet was also outstanding. He was the last person to play at Sam Rivers' Studio Rivbea--in the summer of 1979--the night after the big blowout between Sam and Stanley Crouch (David Murray's mentor) that ended the loft scene.
That was moment I was sorry to have witnessed.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 29, 2009 11:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

You are right about Fred,he was one of the nicest people I have ever met.Dave was a little rough around the edges but if you got to know him he had a warm friendly side also,but I met him in the mid 80s when he was more settled in his career and maybe a little wiser than your early encounters.As for Hamiett he had a gruffness about him,but once he realized that I always had good pot we became buddies.Murray is in Paris now,Hamiett lives in St. Louis and like I said the scene in N.Y. is dead.You caught it at it's high point during the loft scene,that must have been big fun.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Dec 29, 2009 4:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

ust like 1967-9 all over again!

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 28, 2009 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

In response to LIA and ghostofapig I didn't mean the sound or style of their music was reflective of the other free jazz artists I mentioned,but rather their sense of exploration and willingness to play new and different sounding types of music.I'm aware that they were impressed with Miles performance at the Fillmore,but I don't think it sonically informed their music.As far back as 68' they were playing Coltrane influenced music,Clementine seems to be infused with references to My Favorite Things,point being they were always a bit of a free jazz band and it didn't take a gig with Miles to push them in that direction.On that note I will be honest and say I really don't like Miles or his music,so any chance I get to rip him I do,therefore my opinions on him might be a little skewered.In closing Lia,picking a fight with you on musical matters concerning the Dead would be a foolish venture,I was responding more directly to other posts in this thread and past threads.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 28, 2009 12:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The Dead = Jazz?

That's understandable, jerlouvis. I guess one point of my post was that even though many of us might not like Miles' music, the Dead certainly did - I thought it was interesting that Lesh said Miles' fusion music was similar to what the Dead were doing. But I'd agree that I don't hear much similarity, nor do I think their music was influenced by his 'fusion' phase too much, at least in ways that I can hear, unless it's in the 'free' playing style. (By '73, with Keith in the mix, there is a bit more sonic resemblance.)
Miles' earlier period with Coltrane did rub off on them - Coltrane was indisputably a huge influence on them way back in '66.

The question of whether the Dead ever played "jazz" can be debated - just the fact they're playing with guitars instead of horns makes a huge difference - not only that, but their style is so unique from other bands anyway. To me, the connection is clear - even from early '68, the whole idea of medleys of jammed songs linked together, many of them directly quoting jazz (Clementine, Spanish Jam, New Potato in a way), using 'feedback' and 'space' as musical concepts, composing several improvised jam-songs that go on long wordless musical journeys... '73/74 are thought of as the jazziest years because of these big jams where the Dead skitter around from one theme to another, dropping into noisy spaces or funk-jams or unknown spontaneous melodies at the drop of a hat - there's not much like that in rock music.
And then there's the September '73 tour where the Dead directly embraced jazz by adding a couple horn-players for the jams. (That's not even to mention what Garcia was playing in his shows with Saunders & Fierro.) But they do keep it within a 'rock' context - the jams are always kept within a limited space, and always return back to familiar ground.
So, it's not quite jazz, not quite rock, but like some of Miles' fusion albums, somewhere on the border. I think we can call the Dead a 'jazz' band to the same extent we can call them a 'country' or R&B band, it's all part of the mix.... That unique way they play is what's so compelling, regardless of what influences went into it.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 28, 2009 1:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Dead = Jazz?

That was my point in a round about way LIA,that this group of innovative musicians was creating a complex new sort of music that wasn't easily labeled this or that,and to compare it Miles music simply because he was playing jazz with electric instruments with a rock element was a disservice to the integrity and quality of the Dead's music.What they were doing was far more inventive and they were doing live not in the studio.I know that jazz is generally thought of as being horn based,but the absence of horns doesn't negate something from being jazz,such as piano driven jazz with no horns is no less jazz.So I believe that some of the music the Dead played was genuine free jazz,Jerry and Bob were playing some true jazz licks as were Billy and Keith.I think jazz musicians would be well served to listen to and incorporate some of the Dead's jazz stylings.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 28, 2009 10:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Ghostofapig,thanks for the mention of the George Lewis book,I wasn't aware of it and will search it out.I really like the work of a lot the AACM artists and would enjoy reading about the music and organization.I also agree with your point on the AEC,I think they did their best work in the 70's.

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Poster: fireeagle Date: Dec 28, 2009 3:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star



free improvisation doesnt mean it has 2 be jazz. i never considered dead music as being jazzy. dark star was always my fav dead tune, but it is a spacey free form thing, experimental, but definitely rock based. a thing that sonically goes places where no free jazz has ever gone

it can only be compared with early 70s krautrock (ash ra tempel, amon duul II) or early floyd live sound

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzUnGUtKl5U

i never liked miles either

This post was modified by fireeagle on 2009-12-28 23:03:46

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Dec 26, 2009 11:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Interesting essay on a very special piece of music.Thanks for taking the time to post it,I enjoyed reading it.

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Dec 28, 2009 12:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

hey, I just noticed that Salah's info page for the project 1973 list is messed up a little bit. 1973 project ~ part 11 is missing the hyper-link and URL for this webpage. This is The_Bus. His GD and Jer projects seed at eTree. His postings are on forums.etree.org. I have Salah's project's indexed and listed on my website. I guess I should call him, and ask him to edit his posting to correct this.

I searched eTree and found 1973 project ~ part 11. Seeders and leechers take note. Let's all become peers for this show. We should form a huge SWARM for the lossless source. gd73-12-06.sbd.kaplan-fink-hamilton.4452.sbeok.shnf is bundled inside this torrent.

dead-head_Monte-gd-logo-small.jpg

1973 project ~ part 11 here


dead-head_Monte-swarm-big.jpg

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Poster: deadmax Date: Dec 27, 2009 9:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

I've read this review and I've read the others and it sounds like I just need to go ahead and put it on the MP3 Player and give it a whirl. I'm trying to stay in Europe '72 but the Dog Star is pointing to Fall '73 so maybe I'll just try to do both.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Dec 30, 2009 8:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Saw a preview for "The Lovely Bones" yesterday, and I couldn't help noticing that it began with the narrator saying how she had been murdered on December 6, 1973. Coincidence?

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Poster: barongsong Date: Dec 26, 2009 11:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Now that's da shit. Love this show..

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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Dec 26, 2009 11:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Been saying it for years - this is THE Dark Star. At least my personal fav - the "Inside out" 3rd stage - the only one of it's kind - I LOVE this show - See notes below




DARK STAR: THE EVOLUTION

Dark Star 'matured' -- and doubled in length -- during the October '68 Matrix shows. The first full-grown ripe Dark Stars are the Live Dead Dark Stars of the first half of '69. There are more than 30 versions circulating on tape. The structure of this Dark Star (a "Live Dead", or "First Stage"

Dark Star) is as follows



DS theme & jam > 1st vocals > jam > DS theme jam & 2nd vocals > transition > another tune (e.g. St. Stephen)



The Second Stage Dark Star evolved during the summer of '69 -- primarily by the moderate expansion of the jamming before 1st vocals and the addition of "space" after the 1st vocals. Its structure is as follows



DS theme & jams > 1st vocals > space > additional jam > DS theme jam & 2nd vocals (or Tiger) > transition >



Family Dog 8/30/69 28:56 and Winterland 10/25/69 22:05 are fine examples of '69 Second Stage Dark Stars.



The Third Stage Dark Star does not emerge full-blown until '72 but several performances in '69 and '70 anticipate it, notably; Family Dog 11/2/69 30:06, Fillmore West 2/8/70 26:43 AUD, Fillmore East 2/13/70 29:46, and Fillmore East 9/17/70 27:10 AUD.



After 11/8/70 they dropped the second vocals. They revive them at the Academy of Music 3/23/72 23:34 and once more at Portland 7/26/72 30:49, and then not again until the Dark Stars of '89 - '94.



The climactic Third Stage Dark Star only appears full-formed in Europe '72.



It's structure is:



DS theme & jam > additional jams > return to DS theme jam & 1st vocals > space > additional jams > Tiger > more jamming > transition >



After the appearance of the Second Stage Dark Star, nearly all Dark Stars take this form, but after the appearance of the prototypical Third Stage Dark Star there are still many Second Stage Dark Stars -- 'Second Stage' because they lack the additional jams (plural) both before and after the 1st vocals. For instance, the Tiger appears in many Second Stage Dark Stars as the climax of the post-space jamming. What distinguishes Third Stage Tigers is that The Tiger is just one episode in a series of jams following space -- sometimes it forms the climax & leads to transitional jamming into the next song; other times further episodes of jamming follow it (Sputnik, Feelin Groovy Jam, Mind Left Body Jam, ...)



Third Stage Dark Stars tend to be more than 30 minutes long. Obvious examples are



Wembley London 4/8/72 31:30

Dusseldorf 4/24/72 42:58 (including 3:10 of Me & My Uncle)

London 5/25/72 35:13

Hollywood Palladium 9/10/72 34:59

Philadelphia 9/21/72 37:22

Waterbury 9/24/72 34:13

Kansas City 11/13/72 32:16

Houston 11/19/72 31:22

Winterland 12/11/72 32:43

Springfield 3/28/73 32:14

Oklahoma City 10/19/73 28:49

Winterland 11/11/73 35:12

Cleveland 12/6/73 42:27



Rotterdam 5/11/72 48:38 is the longest Dark Star known besides Family Dog 8/28/69 63:#51



Winterland 10/18/74 31:34 represent the tune's dissolution into space.



Cleveland 12/6/73 42:27 is remarkable not only for its scale but for its structure, which turns the customary Third Stage structure inside-out, working in toward the Dark Star theme, rather than starting from it, and moving out into space after the 1st vocals rather than back from it.



Besides the Dark Star Gigantea, or Third Stage Dark Star, another remarkable species of Dark Star is the Dark Star Ferox. These don't have quite the 30-minute plus dimensions of the Third Stage Dark Stars but they have a characteristic fierceness of attack & intensity that makes them stand out.

Obvious examples are:



Austin 11/15/71: 26:04 (including 4:46 of El Paso)

Hamburg 4/29/72 29:26

Madison 10/25/72 24:04



ice petal

flower

revolving



Shall we go

you and I

while we can?



--



Jim Powell

Chimpowl @ rawbw.com

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Poster: gphishmon Date: Dec 29, 2009 10:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

Now that I went back and listened to it, I think the one I reviewed a few years ago was a DIFFERENT 40 + minute Dark Star. This one is the real deal.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 29, 2009 4:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-6-73 Dark Star

AHA! Another listener sees the light! You even reviewed it, too....
There aren't that many 40+ minute Dark Stars....there's 5-11-72, a couple from Europe '72 actually, though they usually have quite a bit going on. Maybe it was just a short 30-minute Star that seemed like 40 minutes?